For a lot of us, setting up on your own is a life changing decision with the power to give you the things you really value in life. Whether you're looking to significantly increase your earning potential or to throw off the shackles of a ‘normal’ job for a more flexible lifestyle, starting a business means you’re the master of your own destiny. Or does it?
Whatever the end goal, it’s worth remembering some wise words from Thomas Jefferson…or was it Cheryl Cole…? ‘Anything worth having, is worth fighting for.’ And fight you will my friend! Start-up life is rough ride, so before you embark on the adventure…ask yourself these questions…and hold onto your hat.
1. Can you remember how to be penniless?
The majority of people who start their own businesses are at a time in their lives where they’ve long since traded up from Sainsbury’s Basics. Many have even started shopping in Waitrose, are happy to ‘just split the bill evenly’ and their wardrobe is slowly being populated with ‘investment pieces’.
Life has become a little more indulgent and a tad more carefree. Well that part of your life ends the day you register at Companies House. And it will remain that way for at least a year. Most likely two or three years if I’m honest.
Every last penny will be spent on the business and your accountant will suggest you pay yourself a salary so low, you will have earned more doing your Saturday job…aged 15. No more rounds of Jaeger Bombs…no more splurging at Reiss. Cutting off the end of toothpaste tubes for the last remains is now normal practice.
2. Just how important is your social life?
You will work at least 50 hours more each week than you ever have before. Lunch breaks, evenings and weekends will become a thing of the past for the foreseeable future and ‘holiday’ will become a curse word.
But it’s ok, I’m sure your best friend will understand why you missed his/her stag/hen do and your mum will have another birthday next year! Right?
3. Are you willing to trade in your handbag/man-bag for a rucksack?
Your bag will be heavy. It will hold a portable office of laptop, notebooks, chargers, mifi, smart shoes and all manner of other things that ensure you can work anywhere…anytime.
Style will be replaced by the need for practicality and you WILL undoubtedly become one of those people who wear their trainers with their pencil skirt on the way into work…backpack in tow. Embrace it. There is no other way.
4. Can you handle the ‘freedom’?
On the up side, suddenly your time is your own…sort of. Doctor's appointment at midday? Fine! Yoga class at 5pm? Sure no worries! Suddenly you become the master of your own destiny.
You will be able to afford yourself these little perks as long as after yoga, you head home and work till the wee hours. This is the alternative to your previous life when you were chained to your desk till 8pm and then went home to collapse in a heap, too exhausted and HANGRY to deal with anything other than the bottom of a wine glass, never mind anything resembling exercise.
5. Do you speak accountant?
If you struggled with languages in younger life, get ready to be schooled. Understanding accountant speak is an art form and therefore it’s essential to your health and wealth to read ‘Accounting for Dummies’ before you start up on your own.
It’s also essential you hire an accountant that comes with glowing recommendations as long as your arm – they can make or break your business in the first few years.
While the early days of start up life will come as a shock to the system…the potential benefits are many once you get that first year or two under your belt!
If you’ve asked yourself these questions and are still left with a thirst for being the boss...then what are you waiting for? Get on with it! It’ll be the best thing you ever did…EVER.